7 Questions With Author Carrie D. Miller
Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby.
In a former life, she was an executive in the software industry for many years. Although Carrie’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for about as much creativity as pouring cement.
At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.
In today’s interview, author Carrie D. Miller offers heartfelt advice on the craft of writing, tips on working with professional beta readers and editors and the lessons she’s learned from reviews.
Make sure to check out all the valuable advice I put together for your Journey From Writing To Publishing And Marketing Your Novel.
Esther Rabbit: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter! I don’t know how pantsters do it; I can’t fly by the seat of my butt like that. I make the outline as detailed as possible, sometimes I mind-map plot points and characters, I create bios for the major and minor players, timelines, and once, a full-blown map.
However, I don’t treat any of it as gospel. Just like the pirate’s code, they’re guidelines. Haha. If my story veers off into a different direction, I go with it to see where it will lead.
Esther Rabbit: What are some of the myths around self publishing / traditional publishing?
The biggest myth I’ve come across is that you can self-publish a book on the cheap. You canNOT. Sure, you could make your own cover and edit yourself, but the end result will reflect its “homemade” nature, which only feeds the industry’s snobbery of self-publishers.
If you want to be taken seriously, you have to spend the money for a quality, professional book cover and a professional editor. Unless, of course, you just so happen to be a professional in both of those fields.
Esther Rabbit: What’s the best advice/feedback on writing you’ve ever received?
Paula Brackston said in one of her Youtube videos on writing to “get into the scene as late as possible, and get out of the scene as soon as possible”. That has really stuck with me. Readers’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so you need get right to it.
Esther Rabbit: There are a lot of experts behind the novel, editors, developmental editors, proofreaders, beta readers, etc. How did you find your perfect crew?
I found my editor soul mate from Kboards.com. Kristen Tate of The Blue Garret came highly recommended from several authors with multiple published novels. She is a tad pricier than others but you absolutely get what you pay for in this industry. She does both Developmental and Copyediting for me, and I’ll never use anyone else.
For the book cover, I discovered Damonza.com on the “Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards” hosted by TheBookDesigner.com. The company was a frequent winner, and after looking at their examples and what they offered for the price, I went with them.
No regrets, and I’ll use them for COPPER PENNIES. For beta readers, I found several professional ones on Fiverr with only one I’d recommend: Kitd56. She did a very thorough job and the price couldn’t be beat.
Esther Rabbit: What’s an approximate price authors would pay to get their precious out there into the world of eager readers?
This is one area newbie authors need to really plan for and budget. It’s not cheap to publish yourself. Expect to pay no less than $500 for a professional ebook cover (keep in mind that the paperback cover is a separate fee, as is hardback, and audio), $1500+ on editing (more or less depending on the length of your novel), and a few hundred on proofreading.
I’ll say it again: You get what you pay for. (But if you are pretty handy with Photoshop and your book cover isn’t too elaborate, you could use it to create the audiobook cover yourself.)
Also set aside some money for advertising, purchasing credible book reviews (like Kirkus Reviews), and entering contests. But be VERY wary of contests. Research the ones you want to enter; some are outright money-grubbing scams.
Esther Rabbit: Is there anything you learned from reader reviews?
Yes! I learned readers really loved the friendship bonds I’d built between characters. It wasn’t something I consciously did; the dialog and bonding just came naturally to the story, to the characters. It was a wonderful thing to discover that an aspect of the book I’d never considered actually impacted readers. I wonder what else I’ll learn in the coming novels!
Esther Rabbit: How long do you self-edit your manuscript before sending it to a proofreader/ beta reader / editor?
I’ll do four+ rounds of editing before I give it to a few beta readers. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, I edit as I go.
I can’t help myself. But I also do full edits after the first draft is done. The second draft is more fill-in-the-blanks and story cleanup, the third draft is when I run it through some software to help me find problems (adverb abuse, word overuse, passive voice, filter words, etc.), then the fourth one I print out. I’ll go through it once more after all those edits, then send it to my editor.
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